New York City reports 61 more measles cases, bringing US total to highest since 1994

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- New York City reported 61 more measles cases since last week, bringing the nationwide total to its highest level since 1994.

The health department also announced it has now issued 12 summonses over individuals not being vaccinated under the recent mandate, who face $1,000 fines for failing to comply with the Commissioner's Emergency Order mandating measles vaccination

Officials say 390 of the 667 cases have been in New York state, mainly in two ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and suburban Rockland County.

There have been no fatalities and only three measles-related deaths in the past two decades, but officials say there have been at least 25 hospitalizations and that two pregnant women have been diagnosed.

"We have now identified two expectant mothers who have contracted measles," Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said. "These cases are stark reminders of why New Yorkers must get vaccinated against the measles as soon as possible. When we do not get vaccinated, we put our friends, our relatives, our neighbors, our classmates and other fellow New Yorkers at risk."

To stop the spread of measles in New York City, the health department on April 9 ordered adults and children ages 6 months and older who live, work or go to school in four Brooklyn zip codes (11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249) to receive an MMR vaccine within 48 hours.

Failing to appear at the hearing or respond to the summons will result in a $2,000 fine.

Health officials are investigating cases with the help of its "disease detectives" and say many of the people who were contacts of individuals with measles had proof of vaccination.

For most people, measles is not life-threatening. The most common symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. However, a very small fraction of people can suffer complications like pneumonia.

For more information on the MMR vaccine, call 311 or CLICK HERE.

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